Identities, Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, 11: The Future of the Idea of the Left (2015)

28 March 2015, dusan

Identities “is a peer reviewed international journal that seeks to serve as a platform for the theoretical production of Southeastern Europe and enable its visibility and an opening for international debate with authors from both the ‘intellectual centers’ and the ‘intellectual margins’ of the world. It is particularly interested in promoting theoretical investigations which see issues of politic, gender and culture as inextricably interrelated.”

With contributions by Jacques Rancière, Katerina Kolozova, Oxana Timofeeva, Craig Gent, Creston Davis, Artan Sadiku, Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala, Tibor Rutar, Zdravko Saveski, and Richard Seymour.

Edited by Katerina Kolozova and Žarko Trajanovski
Publisher Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities, Skopje, 2015
Open Access
ISSN 1857-8616
129 pages

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Masha Gessen: The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin (2012)

7 September 2014, dusan

Handpicked in 1999 by the ‘Family’ surrounding an ailing and increasingly unpopular Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, with very little governmental or administrative experience beyond having served as deputy mayor of St Petersburg, seemed like the perfect choice in the eyes of an oligarchy bent on moulding the president’s successor to its own designs. Suddenly the boy who had scrapped his way through post-war Leningrad schoolyards, dreaming of ruling the world, was a public figure, and his popularity soared. Russia and an infatuated West were determined to see the progressive leader of their dreams, even as with ruthless efficiency Putin dismantled the country’s media, wrested control and wealth from the country’s burgeoning business class, and decimated the fragile mechanisms of democracy. Within a few brief years, virtually every obstacle to his unbridled control was removed and every opposing voice silenced, with political rivals and critics driven into exile or to the grave. As a journalist living in Moscow, Masha Gessen experienced this history firsthand, and for The Man Without a Face she has drawn on information and sources no other writer has tapped. Her horrifying and spellbinding account of how this ‘faceless’ man manoeuvred his way into absolute – and absolutely corrupt – power will stand as a classic of narrative non-fiction.

Publisher Riverhead Books, 2012
EISBN 9781101560600

Video interview with the author (52 min, Sydney Writers Festival, May 2012)
Review (Luke Harding, The Guardian, 2012)
Review (Anne Applebaum, The New York Review of Books, 2012)
Review (John Ehrman, Studies in Intelligence, 2014)

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MOBI, (2)

Francis Spufford: Red Plenty: Inside the Fifties’ Soviet Dream (2010)

11 November 2013, dusan

This book is about the moment in the mid-20th century when people believed that the state-owned Soviet economy might genuinely outdo the market, and produce a world of rich communists and envious capitalists. Specifically, it’s about the last and cleverest version of the idea – central planning via cybernetics – and about how and why, in the 1960s, it failed. To give the economics some human depth, Red Plenty generates a miniature Soviet Union on the page, peopled by scientists and politicians, fixers and managers, dreamers and cynics.

Publisher Faber & Faber, 2010
ISBN 0571269478, 9780571269471
356 pages

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See also:
Red Plenty Platforms, essay by Nick Dyer-Witheford, Culture Machine 14, 2013
Red Plenty: A Crooked Timber, collection of essays inspired by the book, 2012